Q: How different is it reporting to a CEO?
It’s pretty different.
If you report to the CEO, you’ll learn how a business really works. You’ll get to be, at least a tiny little bit, a part “owner” of the company’s strategy and vision. You’ll understand how d**n hard it is really to be a CEO. You’ll understand strategic and tactical trade-offs in a way you’ll never understand reporting to a VP or Director.
You won’t get much hands-on mentoring … if any. You won’t get any help building your tactical skills, usually. You’ll almost certainly have to build all your skills on your own — including management. Which is really hard.
I never reported to a VP. I did OK but I wish maybe I had.